In a few days SI will release its Sportsman (or woman) of the Year issue, which begs the question, is there anyone deserving it? This year the answer is a resounding No!
Various names have been thrown out by the writers and some former athletes, including Serena Williams, David Ortiz, LeBron James and even Vin Scully. While each of them deserves accolades for their performances, I don't see anyone desrving the award this year.
Looking back on the year, there were no Olympics so that pretty much rules out track, skiing, snowboarding, volleyball or other "minor" sports stars, no matter how good their years may have been.
In football the year began with Alabama winning the National Championship. Maybe Nick Saban should win the award, but do you want it going to a guy who had paid players (Haha Dixon) or is likely to jump ship (he and his wife both complained about Alabama this year). Or you had the Baltimore Ravens winning the Super Bowl, but who from that team deserves the award? The answer is no one, the team's cemterpiece was Ray Lewis a guy who many (including me) still view as having gotten away with accessory to murder.
How about basketball? Louisville won it all so you could vote for Rick Pitino, but again Pitino is a good coach but a not-so-good person (marital infidelity, jumping from team to team). Or in the NBA it would be LeBron James after winning a 2nd title. But he won it last year and nothing was different about this year so he doesn't get the award.
In MLB I liked Tom Verducci's selection of David Ortiz. He certainly is the heart and soul of the world champion Red Sox, helping heal the city after the Boston Marathon bombing. But Ortiz' most memorable quote of the year was an f-bomb in front of fans of all ages. Sportsman of the year should have some class.
Serena Williams certainly had the athletic accomplishments to earn the award, with 2 grand slams and multiple other tourney wins. However, like some of the others mentioned her public persona is so offensive to most of the public (screaming and threatening officials, pulbicly trading barbs with Maria Sharapova) that she too doesn't deserve a title that includes sportsmanship as a criteria.
Vin Scully? The best baseball announcer ever (and I HATE all things Dodgers) but still he's the announcer. The award needs to go to an athlete or coach.
Golf? No one even comes close. Tiger had a good year with 5 wins and a Player of the Year, but didn't win a major. Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott both had good years and each won a major but didn't come close to dominating the game.
So who is left, a hockey player? A soccer player? Sorry but those sports are largely irrelevant to most sports fans. A boxer? Show me someone who has has won with the style and ability of a Muhammed Ali or a Ray Leonard (prior Sportsman winners) and I'll nominate them, but nowadays, no boxer is in that category. Peyton Manning? Maybe, but he should win the big one first. If the Broncos win the Super Bowl he is my candidate for nest year's Sportsman, but until then Peyton's a no-go.
So this year the award is like baseball's Hall of Fame...no winners in 2013.